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Israel's Chief Rabbinate rejects conversions approved by prominent US rabbi

Ultra-Orthodox Jewsih men (L) and women (R) pray in two different sections at the Western Wall, the most holy site where Jews can pray, in Jerusalem's Old City
Thomas Coex (AFP/File)
There has been growing dissidence between Israel rabbinate and Diaspora over who is considered Jewish

Israel's Chief Rabbinate, which controls Jewish religious matters such as conversion, marriage and divorce in the country, rejected four conversions approved by a prominent American rabbi without explanation.

The conversions had been approved by Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz, who since 1991 has been the chief judge of the National Beth Din of the Rabbinical Council of America, the main Modern Orthodox rabbinical court in the United States, Ha'aretz reports.

There has been growing dissidence between Israel's Haredi Orthodox rabbinate and Diaspora communities over defining who is considered Jewish, with Israel's Chief Rabbinate increasingly rejecting conversions approved by American Orthodox rabbis.

Those not recognized as Jewish by the Chief Rabbinate cannot marry in Jewish ceremonies in Israel.

In March, Israel's High Court of Justice ruled that the country must officially recognize privately conducted Orthodox conversion to Judaism performed in Israel, and that such converts are eligible for Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return, Haaretz reported.

(Staff with agencies)

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